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When you buy sesame seeds, they are usually raw. Since they have a high oil content they can become rancid, so store them in an airtight container in the fridge. In fact, you should store all raw nuts in the fridge. Toasted sesame seeds are delicious: I heat a small amount in a skillet in medium heat and stir them occasionally. They are ready when they start popping. Toasted sesame seeds can get rancid faster so make small batches.

To find out about the wonderful health benefits of sesame seeds, go to the World’s Healthiest Foods site by clicking here.

When you use scallions you can cut the roots and plant them in the garden or pot. They will grown in no time and in any place, they are really tough guys! My mom never lets any scallion root go to waste because she cooks Japanese food often.

To find out more about scallions, check Chef’s Maven blog article by clicking here.

Beautiful Blog Award

I wanted to share with you that Ann Pierce from Pierce Whole Nutrition blog has passed on the Beautiful Blogger award to me, you can find the blogs she awarded here. Ann and I were classmates at the Nutrition Therapy Institute, and while I left school to pursue culinary arts studies, Ann stayed. I think Ann will be a great Nutrition Therapist. Ann’s blog is awesome, you should check it out if you have any interest in Nutrition topics. She is a great writer and her articles are always very interesting.

Here are the rules for this award: (1) thank the person who nominated you for this award and insert a link to their blog; (2) pass on the award to about 15 other bloggers who you recently discovered and think are great; (3) contact the other bloggers and let them know they have been chosen for this award (4) say 7 things about yourself.

I will publish the list of other bloggers and things about myself later, here, at this post.

Thanks Ann!

This recipe is delicious yet very easy to make. You will need either a blender or a coffee grinder. A food processor won’t work because the amounts are very small. If you don’t have almond flour available, you can grind some almonds. I served this dish with Brilliant Sauteed Broccoli and Cucumber and Celery Salad.

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Brilliant Sauteed Broccoli

I am a little spoiled when it comes to vegetables: in Brazil we have a big variety and all vegetables taste wonderful. I think broccoli in the US doesn’t have any taste … but I found out that baby broccoli tastes much better. So I am using it in this recipe. You may think baby broccoli is expensive but in the end, I think the cost ends up being the same as the regular broccoli, because you pay for the super thick stems. With baby broccoli you use everything.

This method of cooking (blanching/shocking) is very good: the final consistency of the broccoli is very nice and its color, awesome! Instead of brown sugar and red pepper flakes I just added some garlic powder when sauteing. I didn’t use Parmesan cheese either. See the original recipe here.

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Cucumber Celery Salad

Although it was cold last night, I thought that a cucumber and celery will go well with the salmon and broccoli dish. Thinly slice the cucumber, sprinkle some salt on it, let it rest for a couple of minutes and squeeze well. Add finely chopped celery and season with sea salt, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and a bit of sesame oil. Top with some sesame seeds.

I bought some red lentils a long time ago and I kept looking at them and thinking what could I do with them. I found this interesting recipe here and I decided to try it yesterday. It was delicious, and the red lentils turn yellow after they are cooked!

I served the soup with zucchini-carrot garbanzo pancakes: I added some carrots for color and seasoned it with parsley, garlic powder, fennel seeds and sea salt.

If you are in an elimination diet please skip the cayenne pepper. I used ½ the amount of lemon. For a vegan version, please substitute the chicken stock by vegetable stock or water.

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How to chose an avocado? A very hard avocado is under ripe; a mushy one is overripe. Chose one that gives in slightly to the touch. Because it’s so hard to find perfectly ripe avocados, I usually buy under ripe ones and leave them on the counter top or place them in a paper bag (if I am in a hurry). It will take them 1 to 4 days to ripen. Once they are right, I move them to the fridge right away (check them every day). They will be good for a couple of days.

Avocados turn brown once exposed to air. In order to prevent the browning, add lime or lemon juice to them and make sure to coat each piece really well.

To find out about the wonderful health benefits of avocados, go to the World’s Healthiest Foods site by clicking here.

What’s the secret for creamy, delicious beans? Soak them overnight in purified water. Discard the water, put them in a stockpot with new purified water. Never add salt or any acidic ingredient until the beans a completely cooked. Actually it’s best to add all the seasoning after the bean has cooked, except for some basic spices, such as bay leaves.

To find out about the wonderful health benefits of beans, go to the World’s Healthiest Foods site by clicking here.

Fennel and Carrot Salad

We were invited to dinner at our friends Joe and Luiz, so I made a salad to take there. I put together romaine lettuce and English cucumber, topped with shredded carrots and sliced fennel. Then sprinkled with some black and white sesame seeds and dill.  I made a dressing with goat cheese, vinegar, white wine and dill, but if you are in the Elimination Diet, stay with lime and olive oil. The dinner was delicious and fun!

Bean soup is a staple in Brazilian repertoire: because everybody eats beans in almost all meals, leftover beans are common, so the natural consequence is soup. We add pasta, such as elbow macaroni, or vegetables, such as watercress, to the soup. I am just topping the soup with some kale and parsnip chips, but you don’t want to add all of them as they get mushy very quickly. Just add a little to the soup for decoration purposes and serve the rest on the side.

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Baked Parsnip Chips

I never paid attention to parsnips before so it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I found out that this wonderful root is delicious and versatile. They are great for making chips, fries, puree etc.

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Kale Chips

I found this recipe at the James Beard Foundation site. I used lacinato kale (or Tuscan), which is very delicate so I didn’t remove the stems or chopped the leaves. You can make this recipe with any kind of dark greens, such as kale or collard greens. I skipped the cayenne pepper.

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Because Mahi-Mahi has a moderate fat content and a firm flesh, it grills very well and the fatty avocado salsa is a perfect complement to it. This dish is simple yet very delicious. I served the fish on a bed of red cabbage, fennel and sesame seeds.

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Lamb chops were on sale and they looked delicious, so we bought a rack. I just sprinkled them with kosher salt and pepper, some onion and garlic powder. Then let them come to room temperature and grill them for 4 minutes each side, covered with a foil or the grill cover, for medium rare. Cook 6 minutes each side for medium. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

I served the lamb with yucca puree and broccoli rice. If you would like more information on how to cook yucca root, please let me know. Sometimes I find it at the grocery store then I buy it right away.

Broccoli rice is a favorite at my parent’s house in Brazil, specially to go with “bacalhau” (salted cod). Everybody loves it. There was never enough. Its obvious Portuguese flavors goes well with fish or meat. Note: a very good olive oil is important for the success of this dish. I also used purified water and Himalayan salt.

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This is another favorite of mine. I always remember to make it when I see pumpkins all over the place. Yes I still have some from my CSA (community supported agriculture) box!.

For those doing the elimination diet, skip the half and half and the brandy. It will still taste really good as long as you use fresh rosemary.

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If you have leftover fresh rosemary, or winter is around the corner and you have a big bunch in your garden, store cut branches of rosemary in the freezer in an air tight  bag or container. You don’t need to defrost it before using it.

They will keep their wonderful fragrance when you use them during the winter (they are so good with winter vegetables!).

To find out about rosemary’s wonderful health benefits, go to the World’s Healthiest Foods site by clicking here.

Did you know you can freeze fresh ginger? buy a big piece, break it in pieces (snap the “fingers”) and store them in the freezer in an air tight  bag or container. You don’t need to defrost or peel it before using.

To find out about ginger’s wonderful health benefits, go to the World’s Healthiest Foods site by clicking here.

Kale and Garbanzo Soup

This soup is similar to the “White Bean and Kale Soup”, however, the herbs I use are different, thus the flavors are not the same at all. I think I’ve got this recipe in a book by Bob Greene but I can’t find it now. His recipe was white bean and kale, not garbanzos, but you can use either. Fresh rosemary is very important because the soup doesn’t contain meat: that’s where the flavor comes from. Fresh oregano is optional but if you use it, a new flavor dimension is added. For a vegan version, substitute the chicken broth by vegetable broth. For those in the elimination diet, skip the Parmesan, sorry.

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This soup is pure comfort: very nice in a winter day or if you think a cold is coming to get you. I added some peas and spinach for fiber and color. You can add any green vegetable. For the elimination diet, please skip the eggs.

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Don’t store fresh basil in the fridge. Store the herb in the container you bought it, in a fresh and dark place. Better yet, if the basil you bought has long stems, put it in a glass with fresh water.

If you put the basil in the fridge, you will notice that the leaves will get dark and mushy: that’s because basil doesn’t like cold temperatures!

To find out about basil’s wonderful health benefits, go to the World’s Healthiest Foods site by clicking here.

These pancakes were delicious! I made half the recipe but I should have made a whole one, as my husband came looking for seconds, and there was none left!

I used coconut oil instead of olive oil and skipped the chili and the curry. No zucchini flowers either. I served it with the Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burger (see the recipe here), which has a lot of flavor, so I seasoned it with just a bit of garlic powder and some chopped cilantro in place of the garam masala.

If you are serving this dish “standalone”, I recommend that you use all the spices (except the chili and curry, if you are doing the elimination diet).

This recipe is very versatile, I think it should be really good with carrots or other vegetables and any combination of spices and herbs. Besides the burger, I also served it with some chopped red cabbage and carrot salad.

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Pasta with Broccoli

For this dish, I used brown rice fettucine. This dish is light and delicate, it goes well by itself of with meat. Or even with side vegetables. I served it with chicken. Make sure to use a very good quality organic extra virgin olive oil for maximum flavor.

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In order to keep parsley and cilantro fresh for a long time in the fridge, I cut 1/2 inch of their stem with a very sharp knife just after I get back from the store. Then I put them in a glass with 1 inch of fresh water and cover loosely with a plastic bag. I change the water every 2 or 3 days. Depending on their freshness when you buy them, they will keep for more than 2 weeks, super fresh! When I get the herbs from our CSA share, they last almost 3 weeks!

To find out about parsley’s wonderful health benefits, go to the World’s Healthiest Foods site by clicking here.

To find out about cilantro’s wonderful health benefits, go to the World’s Healthiest Foods site by clicking here.

Chicken Tagine

This is a recipe I posted in my other blog. I found years ago in a magazine: the flavors in this dish are wonderful, it’s fragrant and extremely aromatic. Please note, though, that for optimal results, it’s very important that you simmer it covered in very low heat for 45 minutes. For the elimination diet purposes, I am skipping the chili powder.

I served it with Chickpea, Zucchini and Quioa Pilaf (see the recipe here).

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I just wanted something to go with the Chicken Tagine. You may have noticed I am in my red quinoa phase. LOL, I go through phases with one ingredient then I forget about it for a long time. I also used some left over black lentils but these are totally optional. Garbanzos sound like a good match to quinoa, and what about something “green”… zucchini perhaps?

Since the Chicken Tagine is very rich in flavors, I wanted a dish that tasted almost “neutral”, so I decided not to add any herbs or spices, just a pinch of cinnamon. But if you are making this dish “standalone” I would recommend adding some lime, lime rind, parsley and cilantro.

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Thank You!

Thank you everybody, we just went past 1,000 hits in less than one month! I mean number of page loads but, oh well, it’s a great number! I am very excited with the feedback so although I am in the middle of the reintroduction phase, I’ll keep posting more recipes.

Thanks!!!!!!!

Baked Plantain Chips

I skipped the coconut part of the recipe, just baked thin slices of plantain. But I think the coconut would taste really good, it just wouldn’t pair well with the food I am serving it with.

I served it with Steamed Fish with Lime and Black Beans and brown rice.

For the fish, I followed the recipe for Steamed Fish with Lemon and Capers over Zucchini Strips but skipped the capers, parsley and zucchini. For the Beans, I followed this recipe.

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We like to have lunch at the Whole Foods close to our house on Sundays: it used to be a Wild Oats and it still has that neighborhood kind of feeling to it. They recently added a variety of grains to the salad bar which is a very attractive feature. Black lentils and red quinoa came up as a combination of flavors that I got addicted to. I had some leftover red quinoa from the Tabbouleh I made last Sunday, so I decided to make this dish which turned out really good. It is very versatile. You can complement it with some braised dark greens, a protein, such as fish, or avocado slices. You can also drain the lentils and use them as part of a salad.

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Red Quinoa Tabbouleh

The original tabbouleh recipe is made with bulgur wheat which is not gluten free. Substituting it by red quinoa makes the dish lighter and the result is delicious! This is a great way to get the vegetables to the family table.

I served it with Coho fillets and baby broccoli.

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If you are making white fish, follow the recipe below. If you are making salmon, as I am, skip the lemon and the garlic powder: salmon has a strong flavor and we don’t want to overpower the dish by mixing too many strong flavors. The crust was very crumbly and it was kind of falling apart and the taste of almonds was not so evident. I think the results of breading the fish with garbanzo flour like in the Garbanzo Flour Crusted Cod, Yucca Root Puree, Collard Greens recipe were much better. However, the taste of the almond crust is really delicious the next day…

I served it with garlic broccoli rabe (rapini) and some left over Hoppin’ John.

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Hoppin’ John

Hoppin’ John is a traditional dish with many variations, so I decided I could make it anyway I wanted. We love black-eyed peas. In Brazil this bean is called “Little Monk”, not sure why. It is believed that eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is thought to bring prosperity: we eat it often just in case. Black-eyed peas are an excellent source of fiber, calcium , folate, and vitamin A, among other nutrients.

I served it with Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes. See the recipe here. Instead of rosemary, I used thyme. For a vegan version, use vegetable.

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I won’t  detail the recipes here as I really didn’t measure anything when cooking today. But I will sure tell you briefly how I made each dish. Please send me a message if you’d like more details on how to cook these dishes. Note that these recipes are all ok for the elimination diet.

Garbanzo Flour Crusted Cod: Season fish with sea salt and pepper. Mix garbanzo flour with garlic and onion powder. Dredge the fish with the flour mixture. Sautee the fish with coconut oil for about 3 minutes each side.

Yucca Root Puree: cook yucca in water and sea salt until soft. Drain, save about 1 cup of cooking liquid. Cut in 1 inch pieces, return to pan. In low heat add ghee and some of the cooking liquid until it forms a lumpy puree. Add fresh chopped parsley.

Collard Greens: check recipe here.

Chicken Stir Fry

This is a very versatile dish: you can use a variety of vegetables. The list of vegetables in the recipe below contains the produce that was fresher at the store. Mix white, yellow and green vegetables. I used broccoli rabe instead of broccoli as it was on sale. Broccoli rabe  or rapini is bitter and pungent, for me, similar to mustard leaves.

Serve the Chicken Stir Fry with brown rice or soba noodles.

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Reintroduction Phase

Hi Friends!

Yesterday was my last day of the three week elimination diet. I had a great time planning recipes and cooking.  And eating, of course. I will start a 15 week culinary arts program in March and I am hoping to bring this kind of  cooking up a level when I am done, and possibly, will be doing some personal chef work. I’ll keep you posted!

I am might create a new blog for the reintroduction phase to post specific recipes that contain “Foods to Avoid” in  case some interesting recipes come up. I’ll let you know. I believe there will be many recipes in the reintroduction  phase that will still fit the elimination phase. In that case, I will still post the recipes in this blog.

I will also repost some recipes from my other blog Umami What’s for Dinner that can be used in this elimination diet. I’ll hope to do it soon. So keep checking, or if you prefer, subscribe via email so new posts will be emailed to you.

Mar-a-Lago Turkey Burger

IMG_1393When my friend Camilla and I went for a walk in the park she mentioned this turkey burger recipe and I was very intrigued, so I decided to try it. It’s a dish at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago restaurant and it looks like Oprah is a fan. It is a little bit of work but not much and it’s totally worth it, it’s delicious! I make a big batch every once in a while since then.

The second main ingredient of the Major Grey’s Chutney is high fructose corn syrup, so I replaced it with some pureed apple, a drop of apple cider vinegar and a little extra lemon juice. I also skipped the Tabasco. Everything else is good for the elimination diet. If you are not in an elimination diet, you should definitely use the Major Grey Chutney, it’s really delicious.

Check the recipe on Oprah’s web site here with amounts for 8 burgers. I adapted the recipe to yield 2 burgers, which actually produced 4 good sized burgers.

I just updated this post (finally after 4 years) with some corrections and a better picture: this is a sandwich with plantain bread (you can check online, there are several recipes out there but they all take eggs), arugula and tomato.

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White Bean and Kale Soup

The vegetable broth I used has a yellow color, which I think turned the soup prettier. If your broth is transparent, you may want to add some chopped carrots to the ingredient list. Add them with the kale.

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Broiled Chicken Kebabs

I took advantage of the broiler while the chicken was cooking and cooked some green beans at the same time. Put them in a baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Broil them for about  10 minutes, tossing them once or twice, until they start browning. I also made more Japanese Style Napa Cabbage and Cucumber Salad to go with it.

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Middle Eastern Food

We wanted to go out to celebrate my friend’s birthday and choosing a restaurant for someone in an elimination diet was not an easy task. Japanese restaurants were almost good but they use too much soy and sugar; Indian food was perfect: oh no, they use too much cayenne and chili peppers, same as Thai and Vietnamese. So although these last restaurants don’t use much wheat, dairy or eggs in their cooking (and they are not incorporated in the food, so you can separate the allergens), they use soy, sugar and peppers in the cooking process. The only other option I could think was Middle Eastern: hummus, lamb, rice, garbanzo beans (ask the restaurant about their falafel, if they use wheat, red pepper or baking powder, some of them don’t), lentil soups (check with them, sometimes they use tomatoes), they are all good for an elimination diet. Skip the pita, the tabbouleh, kibbeh, fatouch and babaganoush. And many Middle Eastern restaurants don’t serve alcoholic drinks so your friends can be very “supportive” by not drinking. So we ended up going to Marrakech Cafe. Click here to check my review at Yelp.

I came across a beautiful wild sockeye salmon and I had to buy it. The fish was so beautiful that I think the only way to cook it in order to enhance its flavor is the tea-smoked process. Tea-smoking is delicious, super easy and fast: see the recipe here. I added fresh dill to the fish and to the pesto brown rice pasta that I served on the side.

This dish is inspired in a Japanese dish called “Gomoku Gohan (5 Ingredient Rice)”. The original recipe uses soy sauce, sake and sugar. In this dish I am using sesame oil and kombu instead. It is very important to use kombu and burdock root: these two ingredients bring “umami” to the dish. You can find burdock root at your local Asian store. Make sure to keep it in a container with water in the fridge. That way, it will last for a long time. Burdock is widely used in the macrobiotic diet.

I served it with Japanese Style Napa Cabbage and Cucumber Salad.

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Just thinly slice some English cucumber and sprinkle with sea salt. Let rest for about 10 minutes and squeeze well. Thinly slice some Napa cabbage, mix it in a bowl with the cucumber. Dress with sea salt, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

I kept thinking about what would be a good substitute for oats in granola, but I was having a hard time. Then one day I was shopping at Vitamin Cottage and I came across unsweetened banana chips: I decided to try them and it worked great! I am also trying Zante currants: they are not sweetened, they are very small and delicious, but they don’t have the tartness of the cherries or cranberries. If you prefer more tart, use the last ones.

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I used vegetable stock instead of wine and no red pepper flakes. This is one of the easiest, fastest and more delicious dished I ever made: it took me less than 5 minutes to prepare, the rest of the time was just waiting for the roasting in the oven. Find the original recipe here.

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Green Quinoa

I am a little obsessed with pesto sauce these days, I guess that I am realizing it’s so delicious, healthy and versatile. I love pine nuts, but I decided to try to make this dish with almonds just for a change. I used blanched almonds but you can use slivered, whole etc. It turned out really good!

If you need help on how to cook quinoa, check this blog, Food and Style. This blog is wonderful, it’s worth taking a look!

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I tried to make a different kind of bean or legume each day during this vegan week, I guess I almost did it. Today is my last day of the vegan week and I will not cook as I have lots of leftovers in the fridge, from lentils, yellow split soup to black-eyed peas.

I love black-eyed peas. I usually make this dish with tomatoes and yellow bell peppers. Actually the combination of vegetables I used turned out pretty good. You can use any crunchy vegetable such as carrots and turnips for example. I cooked the beets very slightly so they were a little crunchy. My husband loved this dish so much he even asked if he could take it to the office for lunch!

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This soup is delicious and easy to make. I just omitted the cayenne pepper and increased the spinach amount. Store bought garam masala could be used in the tadka, however, it contains red chili or cayenne, so I recommend that you make your own spice mix. I also used light coconut milk, as I think the regular one is a little too heavy for this recipe.

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I boiled some brown rice pasta, added asparagus cut in 1.5 inch pieces in the last 5 minutes, peas in the last 2 minutes, drained, mixed with pesto and ready! That was my lunch yesterday, plus a small green salad and an apple with almond butter.

This dish is inspired in a Middle Eastern dish that I used to have in Brazil: a type of flat bread filled with escarole. I served it with asparagus on the side.

That was dinner last night. This morning I had a brown rice tortilla wrap with black beans from the other day, asparagus from last night and avocado.

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I just put together some greens, yellow beets (I love them, and they don’t stain everything as red beets do), heart of palm, sprinkled with slivered almonds, sesame seeds, sea salt, black pepper, lime and olive oil.

Brazilians don’t feel a meal is complete without beans. A typical Brazilian meal is composed of rice, beans, a small piece of meat and vegetables. Black beans are most common in Rio and in “Feijoada”, the national dish. We usually don’t use salsa, unless we are eating “churrasco” (BBQ). Then the salsa is made with tomatoes, onions, parsley and green onions, not avocado and cilantro. Actually, in Brazil, avocados are not used as a savory ingredient, but as a dessert!

I served the black beans with brown rice, lacinato kale (we usually serve collard greens but I couldn’t find them; kale is a good substitute), and avocado salsa (avocado, lime, red onion and cilantro). The kale was cooked with some olive oil and garlic.

Today I had a cocoa protein shake with a frozen banana and almond butter as breakfast. I won’t cook meals as I have left over black beans and lentil soup. But I will make more pesto and granola: I will try to put some banana chips on the granola. I’ll let you know how it turned out.

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So I am thinking what do I have for breakfast today? I have a left over half sweet potato, some greens, avocado. I thought about adding some nuts or the leftover Indian cauliflower and parsnip but it was going to be too much. So I spread a little hummus in a brown rice tortilla, mashed the sweet potato and spread over the hummus, topped with the arugula and avocado. One thing about the brown rice tortilla: first, remember not to heat it too much, heat it just enough to make it flexible, then work fast as it gets hard when it cools down.

Lebanese Lentil Soup

Middle Eastern cuisine is a great fit for this diet (should we still call this a diet? It’s been sooo delicious!): their main staples are grains, spices, herbs and lamb. This lentil soup is comforting and delicious. The flavors are intense and the food, fulfilling.

The only change I made to the original recipe is that I reduced the amount of olive oil to 1/3 and used carrots, parsnip and squash instead of potatoes. See the original recipe here. This recipe yields to a lot of soup. You may want to reduce the recipe to half but then you will have a problem when blending the cilantro and garlic in the food processor: you won’t have enough. I had to use some water as I didn’t want to use 1/4 cup of olive oil.

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Today I started the vegan week of the elimination diet. I had creamy rice with granola for breakfast. For lunch, I baked a sweet potato and boiled some brown rice pasta. When the pasta was almost ready, I added zucchini strips, drained and mixed with some pesto. There you go, delicious lunch in no time (given that you have the pesto sauce). Some meals are too simple to deserve a full recipe. If you’d like more details please let me know. Tonight I think I am making some Lebanese lentil soup, yum!

In order to get the most of a meal, focus on whole, fresh ingredients, try to bring lots of flavor into the dish by using herbs and spices and most importantly, make sure it has beautiful colors!

I served this vegetable dish as a side for some biriyani leftovers from yesterday. This dish is originally made with potato and cauliflower. I made a version with cauliflower and parsnip. And no chili. It turned out pretty good.

This recipe was adapted from “Potatoes and Cauliflower with Peas” (From Curried Flavors, Maya Kaimal MacMillan).

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Happy 2010!

That 2010 finds all in good health and great disposition to help the needed. That compassion, gratitude and love fill your hearts. Happy New Year!

Here is the menu for the New Year’s Eve dinner:

Appetizers:

Lima Bean Dip, Hummus, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Celery and Carrot sticks.

Salad:

Arugula, Bitter Baby Greens, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds with Olive Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar.

Main Dish: Chicken Biriyani

Chicken Biriyani

This is a special dish for New Year’s Eve. On a normal elimination diet, one should not have too much refined grains or fried food. According to the author, this recipe is a simplified version. I used chicken broth instead of yogurt, ghee instead of butter, no eggs, no chili, no cayenne. For the chicken fry, I used 1 tablespoon of oil instead of ¼ cup.

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Lima Bean Dip

This recipe is from Epicurious, see the original recipe here, and here is their comment about it: “This dip was inspired by a recipe for bissara, a garlicky purée from Egypt made from dried broad beans, in Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean Cookery.”

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Poaching is a very easy and healthy cooking technique. The fish was moist and perfectly flaky. The trick is not to boil the fish, but you need to bring it to boiling temperature slowly and keep an eye on the heat.

I served the fish with some brown rice fusili, broccoli and pesto.

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The original recipe is from Food and Wine and it’s for pizza, see their recipe here. But I think the final result, which is delicious, looks and tastes more like a pancake, in my opinion. It turned out really good with salmon spread and arugula.

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Salmon Lemon Tahini Spread


You can make this spread with any left over or canned fish.

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This is a no-chili chili, so I am adding additional cilantro for taste. I served it with an arugula bitter greens salad on the side. Beware of chicken broth when you buy: check the label carefully. Most of the organic brands contain sugar cane or soy. The brand I am using is the organic free range “Imagine” chicken broth.

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Tea-Smoked Salmon

I adapted the recipe from a blog called Invitado de Invierno (see the recipe and blog here) and it looks like the recipe originated from “Simple Ming” episode 203. I have been making it over and over. The result is delicious, exotic and the preparation, more than easy.

I served it with on a bed of baby bitter greens such as kale, tuscan kale, escarole, radicchio and frisee, dressed with lime juice and olive oil. If desired, you could sprinkle some nuts or olives on top of the greens. Then I topped the with leftover roasted winter vegetables. I always cook a big batch of food so I can have it in more than once and/or I can use some of it when cooking further meals. This saves time and helps in case you are caught short handed. Also, note that I usually have a big piece of fish or meat in my final pictures: that’s for photographing purposes, I eat 3 oz of that portion, the rest goes for another meal!

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There is no fixed recipe for this very versatile breakfast. Today I used one brown rice tortilla, spread a thin layer of hummus all over it, covered the hummus with baby greens, a slice of turkey, ¼ avocado slices and some asparagus from yesterday. I wanted to add some winter vegetables but they wouldn’t fit!

Brown rice tortillas are delicious but a little chewy. It’s important to warm it up but not too much, otherwise it will get too flaky or crispy. Crispy is good if you want to make tortilla chips.

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I am using vegetables that looked good at the store today, but any winter vegetable can be used. You can also use any herbs or spices, such as basil, oregano, parsley, chives, cumin etc.

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Roasted Asparagus

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This was delicious.

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This granola is rich (but incredibly delicious) so I intend to use it with discretion. Just a sprinkle it over fruit or creamy cereal will bring out wonderful flavors.

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This fish turned out really good. The lemon caper sauce is a classic sauce originally made with butter. Steaming fish is an Asian technique: it’s easy, fast and healthy. I served the fish with oven-baked sweet potato fries.

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Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries

4 Servings

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 large)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tsp. sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel potatoes, cut each in half lengthwise, and cut each half into 6 wedges or ½ inch wide strips. In a large bowl, combine the cut potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper. Toss until potatoes are evenly coated. On a baking sheet, arrange potatoes in a single layer and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake until edges are crisp and potatoes are cooked through — about 30 minutes. Turn every 10 minutes with a spatula, carefully. Serve immediately.

The flavors in this soup are wonderful and it’s full of nutrients, so a little goes a long way… and a drop of pesto on top made it taste like heaven! I made a full recipe so I can have it again for lunch and as a snack.

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Apple and Almond Butter

Today I had apple with almond butter and a hot chocolate protein shake made with coconut milk. The apple was a little too cold for a snowy day but the hot cocoa was delicious! I think I’ll have some hot breakfast tomorrow. Brrrrrr!!!!

Breakfast might be a challenge but I am sure there are good options.

Preparation

Doing any diet is much easier if you are prepared: plan, shop, cook ahead. Today I am preparing some basic dishes that I believe are crucial to the success of this diet.

Hummus: it’s a great snack and it’ll be really nice if it’s there whenever you need a creamy savory bite.

Pesto: it enhances many dishes wonderfully with its complex flavors.

Soup: always have some soup ready, in case you need some immediate warm comfort.

It is also important to have the basic pantry and fridge items always ready, as well as oils, spices and herbs. My ingredients are the freshest possible (given that I live in Colorado and it’s winter now), all organic and non-processed.

It’s winter time here so you are going to see more soups than salads, more hot breakfasts than shakes, specially now, that we have single digit temperatures! If you are doing an elimination diet during summer time, I recommend that you eat more salads than soups, more fruit shakes than hot cereals. Your body will be grateful to you if you work in harmony with the place you live and the current season.

Let’s start cooking!

Hummus

Hummus is a delicious, versatile and super healthy dish. It is great for snacks with chopped vegetables, gluten-free crackers, sandwiches and lettuce rolls.

Garbanzos are a great source of fiber, zinc, folate and protein. Tahini, a sesame seed paste, is a very good source of monounsaturated fats, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1 and zinc. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, and polyphenols which are known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticoagulant actions.

Garlic, ah garlic, protects against evil or ward off vampires. Garlic contains manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C. But most importantly, garlic, like onions, markedly reduces inflammation. It’s also antibiotic and antifungal, antibacterial.

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Non-Diary Pesto

Use pesto in pastas, soups, pizzas, sandwiches, or to season some fish. It complements and brings big flavors to once dull dishes. A little goes a long way. The original version takes Parmesiano or Romano cheese.

Basil contains flavonoids, volatile oils and eugenol: they protect the cell, they are anti-bacterial and anti-inflamatory. We already talked about garlic and it’s wonderful preventive and healing properties.

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Count Down

Count down to start elimination diet…  1 day!!!!